Port St. Lucie residents concerned about lack of sidewalks

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Michael Vigilante lives around the corner from where 16-year-old Hunter Henry was struck by a car on Tuesday in Port St. Lucie. The accident happened on SE Tiffany Avenue, close to the intersection of SE Lennard Street.

"You see these kids going to school in the dark," said Vigilante. "We get a lot of bikes coming through."

Henry is in critical condition, and Vigilante said this accident highlights a city-wide problem.

"You see a kid now, there's a kid now coming up the street!" Vigilante exclaimed, pointing at a bicyclist. "He's riding in the street because there's no sidewalk."

Ed Cunningham, spokesperson for the City of Port St. Lucie, admits adding more sidewalks to the area is a work in progress. Port St. Lucie has created thirteen miles of sidewalk in the last seven years to address concerns throughout the city.

"The areas that have the most traffic, that have kids coming and going to school, those were the priority areas," said Cunningham.

City funding and grants continue to finance the current and future sidewalk projects. Over the next couple of years, Port St. Lucie expects to spend $3 million to $4 million building new sidewalks.

Where Henry was struck does not have a sidewalk, but it's only half a block over from a spot that had three new sidewalks created.

Cunningham said it's not fiscally possible to have a sidewalk for every single street, but he says the city is working to build them wherever they can.

"There are a lot of places that have sidewalks that didn't have them," said Cunningham. "We're going to keep up with the project, and hope that we don't see one more person get hurt."

Vigilante hopes one day, there will be funding for a sidewalk near his street. "I just feel bad for the family," he said.

The Henry family has set up a fund at Seacoast National Bank. To make a donation, ask for the Hunter Henry Fund.

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